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The Innately Intelligent Creed: Paving the Way Towards Marketing Excellence

Marketers today are charged with injecting their intelligence into the process or the system, burdening themselves and not leveraging their capabilities. The new era of marketing will innately merge AI and human creativity to optimize any campaign or marketing strategy. Optimove's CEO looks into CRM's seamlessness

I’ve been going back and forth with the concept of innately intelligent marketing for many months now. It may sound like a vague phrase devoid of much meaning, but I promise to illuminate what it means for us marketers.

First, the inspiration behind the notion of innate intelligence: I’m a biology and natural science buff and, as you know, our body possesses instinct – We inhabit a wonderous machine that just knows what to do – our immune system knows when to kick in, our metabolism keeps us up and running, we have the ability to heal ourselves. All these actions occur naturally.

Marketing technology’s biggest buzzwords in the last couple of years were AI and Machine Learning. Every company incorporates AI, every company has an ML expert. It’s very hard to determine what AI means. Does it mean computer science? A propensity towards something?

I’ve been contemplating this topic – Is there any real intelligence in marketing technology? What comprises ‘real intelligence’ in this field? Can we trust the machine, the system, to keep us up and running, and know when to kick in?

The Systems You Know

Essentially, if you look at most marketing technologies today, you’ll notice the heavy presence of automation. Almost every marketing technology allows you to set a workflow, some kind of rules that will be run automatically.

And with that comes connectivity – An API that links up to other systems you can communicate with. Finally, marketing technologies are nothing without data. Typically, limited access, but it’s there.

Most systems include these three components. Some have more data than others, in all of them you’ll find automation, and in many, the concept of connectivity. But the intelligence – the essence – is left to the human user who needs to define the rules and flows.

Leveraging Capabilities

If the human user is responsible for injecting their intelligence into the process or the system, it causes (in my opinion), two things: 1. It burdens the user, and for many, it’s a heavy load. 2. It doesn’t leverage the person’s full capabilities.

As in coding, these two issues create something similar to spaghetti coding. Everything becomes convoluted. It’s hard to maintain and isn’t built to scale.

The Limited Journey

As marketers, when we build campaigns, we’re always looking for good conversation starters. But campaign volume and variety are very much limited to the worker’s capacity, and this hands-on work is tiresome. If you define a journey and aim to start five additional conversations with customers, you must either build a new journey or find the splits in the existing journey. At a certain point, your hands are tied – too much data, the guy who built the journey moved to another company – and you find yourself in a deadlock. In today’s flexible working environment, it’s never a good doctrine – Just ask the developer left to figure out a code created by a predecessor now employed elsewhere.

One other thing to take under consideration is that in most marketing plans, there’s significant crossfire. Customers receive multiple messages from different campaigns and it’s almost impossible to manage priority and exclusion. You don’t really leverage the benefits of machine learning and your use of the human intelligence is limited. What happens at this point? You’re not saying the right thing at the right time to the right customer, via the right channel. Simple and disappointing as that.

Your Customers Await

You’ve probably already read several articles about 2019’s sophisticated customers. It’s not easy to surprise them. They know the basics. They expect much more, but their loyalty is up for grabs. Give them a unique experience and they’re your brand evangelists but treat them any differently and they’re gone forever.

The innately intelligent approach is different. It merges the marketer and the machine. Marketers will do what they do best, while the system adds an extra layer with machine learning and AI. In innately intelligent marketing the marketer sets a framework. The marketer uses their creativity to say, “This is where you’re going to play.” Then, the machine will optimize the campaign by looking at multiple data points the marketer cannot crunch in his head. Machines cannot design an experiment as well as us humans because we use our understanding of the world. Once we design that experiment, the machine begins optimizing.

This is the best relationship. The human ability and machine learning capabilities are so vastly different, and so complementary to one another.

Innately intelligent marketing will only be possible when we can combine human creativity and machine optimization. At Optimove, we’ve been obsessing over this one issue always trying to answer these core questions: what’s the best thing to do for every customer every time? What’s the best marketing move? Is it your Optimal Move?

This piece is based on a lecture given by Pini Yakuel at Optimove Connect 2018.

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Pini Yakuel

Pini co-founded Optimove in 2012 and has led the company, as its CEO, since its inception. With two decades of experience in analytics-driven customer marketing, business consulting and sales, he is the driving force behind Optimove. His passion for innovative and empowering technologies is what keeps Optimove ahead of the curve. He holds an MSc in Industrial Engineering and Management from Tel Aviv University.